Things can turn out for the better

Thirty years ago  I had a local florist send a flowering potted plant to my mother who was hospitalized in Saskatchewan. My mother loved flowers. She always planted a quarter of her farm garden with everything from ground-hugging alyssum, snap dragons and gladioli to delphiniums that towered over her.

Thirty years ago  I had a local florist send a flowering potted plant to my mother who was hospitalized in Saskatchewan. My mother loved flowers. She always planted a quarter of her farm garden with everything from ground-hugging alyssum, snap dragons and gladioli to delphiniums that towered over her.

Beyond my $35 cost, the details of the transaction have faded from my memory. But I have a clear recollection of my disbelief when I walked into Mom’s room and beheld the sad, sorry sight squatting on her bedside cabinet. The blossoms had the mangled look of a fistful pilfered  by a  3-year-old from a neighbour’s flower bed.

Had the delivery person fumbled the plant when he took it from his van, and kicked it ahead of himself like a football all the way to the front desk? Or had the plant been toppled to the tile floor by a nurse’s elbow while she assisted my mother?

“This florist,” I thought, “never expected me to see this plant.”

Recently a friend was similarly disappointed. She paid $85 to send a bouquet to a distant memorial service. When she arrived for the service, she was embarrassed to find her tatty bouquet surrounded by pristine arrangements. 

Half of her bouquet consisted of one split philodendron leaf, the size of a giant rhubarb, costing maybe $3.50. The remainder of the arrangement was made up of small, nondescript flowers similar to those you might gather along any highway in August, except they weren’t dusty. The whole had an air of ‘making do’.

She, too, wondered if the florist had not expected her to drive so far.

Many things influence the selection of flowers available and the resultant cost of any floral arrangement.

The time of year largely dictates which flowers are available and their price. Winter automatically narrows the selection. And of course,  the more readily available, the lower the price. I ordered my flowers in May. My friend ordered hers in January.

Some flowers are more expensive than others. Roses and white calla lillies rank near the most expensive. Carnations and chrysanthemums are some of the least expensive.

Does the total cost of the bouquet include the shipping and delivery expenses? Is the bouquet being sent by wire from a florist here to be made up and delivered by a florist somewhere else?

Deliveries to a rural address are most costly. Deliveries within a city rank next in delivery costs. Flowers delivered in a small town handy to the florist are least expensive to deliver.

Both internet and catalogues in florist shops offer photos of suggested bouquets from which you can make your choices and have every expectation that what will show up at your destination will closely resemble what you intended.

Cost as well as customer satisfaction will depend upon whether the flowers are to be delivered already arranged in a basket or vase, or whether the flowers will be handed over as a  sheaf swaddled like a newborn in tissue paper, individual sprigs to be separated and arranged by the recipient.

Whatever the occasion for sending flowers we want them to lift the recipient’s spirit.

We also want to give the best we can afford. To learn your choice of flowers has been seriously substituted or your gift manhandled during delivery can be frustrating. Unfair.

What recourse do you have? No ‘do-over’ is possible; the occasion has come and gone.

But you can negotiate with the florists for a refund. If you can provide close-up photographs of the unsatisfactory bouquet, reaching a settlement should take little time. Forgetting the incident takes much longer.